Paisley Park Studios officially opened in September, 1987. Owned and developed by Prince Rogers Nelson, the complex was designed for rehearsal, recording, and film and video production. Located about 30 minutes southwest of Minneapolis, this 10 million dollar, 55,000 sq. ft. facility is one of the top flight and historically important recording studios in the world.
An influential star of the 1980s, Prince wrote and produced funky pop songs that had cross-genre appeal, including the best-sellers 1999, When Doves Cry, and Kiss. The son of a jazz pianist, he taught himself several instruments and formed his own bands as a teenager. At age 19 he released his first album, on which he played all the instruments. His second album, Prince, was followed by many others, including 1999, the soundtrack of the film Purple Rain, in which he also starred, and Diamonds and Pearls. He became known as something of an eccentric genius: he dressed in high heels and outrageous finery and was so multitalented that on many songs he played all the instruments himself.
The studios were designed by architect Brett Thoeny of Boto Design of Santa Monica, California and acoustician Marshall Long, working with local engineers in the Minneapolis area. Brett took the lead in studio layout and control room design while Marshall provided HVAC noise control, vibration isolation, room-to-room sound separation, and made contributions to the studio interiors.
The acoustical isolation design was particularly challenging since the sound stage is used to fly a full concert rig and play at concert levels while the other studios are in use. The facility includes four main studios. Studio A has an 80-track recording console, while Studio B has a 48-track console; Studio C is the smallest and most intimate, while the soundstage is over 12,000 square feet and is used for concerts, rehearsals, and video productions. Every room in Paisley Park is wired for sound to allow Prince to record wherever he likes.
The studios were closed in 1996 with only Prince and some of his friends continuing to record and perform there. In 2004 Paisley Park was reopened with the studio's editing and recording rooms having been newly digitized and upgraded. The numerous unreleased music and full length films and video work that are known to have been created in Paisley Park Studios are among the rarest of the Prince catalog on the Paisley Park record label. In 2004 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.